Crest Jewel 5.10a

  • Currently 5.0/5

North Dome

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
Crest Jewel Photo Trip Report 7/19/09
Tuesday July 21, 2009 1:07am
Crest Jewel Photo Trip Report 7/19/09
6:20 at the trailhead.
There are a lot of good TRs of this route out there so Iíll give a quick overview and proceed to the pics. I blew the approach from Porcupine Flat. We went too high so it took three hours from the car to the start of the route. We did a bunch of bushwhacking so we were kids again. Adults donít bushwhack. It is just not something adults do. Why would they? Right in the midst of the mosquitoes and the scratches we came across this beautiful bush.
There are a few good views around.
There seems to be a disagreement about which crux is the hardest the early crux or late crux. Iím going with the late crux. Thin.
So I lead p1 and 2 together. Here they are.



Clouds Rest


The crux is supposed to be P2 or P8 but I was following P7 and got a few feet from the belay when I mentioned to Mike (Zoo) wow it is slick here. I could almost touch the belay bolts... when I fell. The only fall of the day for either of us. I fell a full six inches because he had me tight and we were chatting about the slickness. I would have thought nothing of it, just let my guard down, except on my bike ride today I was talking to Bob and he goesí ĎYeah, I know that spot! That is the real crux.Ē So be forewarned.



Half Dome
Take plenty of water. I drank five quarts between car to car and I lost three pounds.
Great route. Get on it!

  Trip Report Views: 2,900
About the Author
Zander is a trad climber from Berkeley.


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:11am PT
Very nice, Z!

Three hr approach, coulda done RA...

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:12am PT
Wow, you been knockin' down some routes lately.

Impressive. Cloud's Rest is next, huh?

I see you lookin' over there.....

Author's Reply  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:14am PT
Oh Yeah, Bluering,
Clouds Rest, My Favorite Things 10a, Gotta get on it.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:14am PT
nice one Zander... when you roll you roll...

we need to schedule a date for this year's little climb...

Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:16am PT
I know its not so well known but earlier this season we did (RA linked up with) North Dome South Face. Damn nice route too in my opinion, and you get cracks to stick things in - fun fun fun

Author's Reply  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:17am PT
I'm trying to get in shape so I can stay with you. I think I'm ready though. Let talk amongst ourselves.....
Oh yeah!

Author's Reply  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:18am PT
I thought of that. I was pretty tired though. Glad to just plod on back to the car. I'm getting kinda old.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:20am PT
How many pitches is eyeore's?
What's the soundtrack for that route on cloud's rest?

Author's Reply  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:24am PT
I think Eyeore's is only five pitches.
Gotta be Coltrane for Cloud's Rest. I don't have that album though.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:25am PT
Way to rock it.....Bushwacking is for real men. Gyms are for kids. I bushwack regularly. Keeps me fit. Well done. Honestly....I once bushwacked on the approach to Nutcracker. Don't ask.
nick d

Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:27am PT
Sounds like you had great fun! What is that beatiful flowering bush? The flowers are lovely.

Thanks for posting up!

Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:28am PT
OK, since we're talking about it; is there an easier way to get from the top of ND down to the base of CJ? this is the second story I've heard recently about horrendous bush waking.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:35am PT
The Bush: Western Azalea...very fragrant. Makes me want to leave tomorrow. Thanks.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:40am PT
That's the best quality rock on the universe. Dan Dingle (FA) was a student of mine when I was a first year grad student.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:49am PT
That's the best slab route this side of Darrington.
It must be a lot more enjoyable now that the 'spinners'
have been replaced.

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 02:29am PT
Nice stuff Zander.... I did that route with a young woman who lead all the hard stuff while I did all the run out stuff. Great climb... hope the old quarter inchers have been replaced. Long way between them!!
later Tom

Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 07:51am PT
Holy sea of granite, Batman! wow! every pitch looks exactly the same! Looks like a beautiful route - thanks for sharing!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 08:57am PT
the easiest way from the top to the bottom is to go down the slabs to the west of the vegetated gully, best with an altimeter, to the proper contour and then bushwack east to the base of the climb.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 11:47am PT
micro-note: For those who love these Azaleas, there is a large grove of them at the top of the NA wall area, right on the edge, living on the seepage there. They get quite tall too, like over 8ft there. The fragrance is incredible when they are in bloom.

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jul 21, 2009 - 11:54am PT
Zander, MAN ON FIRE.

Maybe the hike approach avoids doing North Dome Gully on-site in the dark, but that's half the adventure!

My crux vote for Crest Jewel is the end of link of P1/P2. I blew it 2-3 times for big sliders there, never fell again on the route. Maybe I was so adrenalized afterward I just hovered in the air above the higher cruxes. I seem to remember some little roof too where the pro wasn't reassuringly close below.

Trad climber
it's all turtles, all the way dooowwwwwnn!!!!!
  Jul 21, 2009 - 12:04pm PT
F I V E quarts?

  Jul 21, 2009 - 12:16pm PT
Nice !! Musta been hot in the valley last weekend ..
Capt. Buzzkill

Trad climber
Northridge, CA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 12:37pm PT
I've done the route 3 different ways: 1)as described in the TR, 2) approach via Royal Arches and descend North Dome Gully, and 3) approach from Tioga Pass to the top of North Dome (like #1) and rappel the route. The third option requires knowledge of where the route summits but gets you to the base much cleaner and composed than bushwacking and in about the same time. Great route and I know I'll repeat it again.

Trad climber
Tunneling out of prison
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:02pm PT
Nice one, Zander. I sent you an email. I need to get on this route yet.

Trad climber
Lee, NH
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:12pm PT
Looks so clean and peaceful up there!

beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:14pm PT
I second the "man on fire" comment! Good on'ya Zander! Looking forward to hanging out soon.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:26pm PT

Another place on the must go list.

Damn it's a long list................

  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:33pm PT
yowza! I've always wanted to do this route, but your description of the crux(es) got my palms sweating. Slick slab scares me silly. thanks for the report!

Fremont, CA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 01:47pm PT

Beautiful pics. It was my first real time on slab so I had a very scary great time on the trip. Hopefully, we can get out again this year.


Gym climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 02:01pm PT
thanks Zander for the effort. always meant to do it but never have. Did the south face rt.(.7) in mid-70's with Victor Marcus using Royal Arches as approach. a day to remember....being up so high above the Valley, the view of HD, and lots of mileage. beer at Degnan's Deli was sure tasty afterwards. thanks Vic for the memory. Gene

Just livin' the dream
  Jul 21, 2009 - 02:51pm PT
Awesome TR, Zander!!! Beautiful photos, too.

I've been wanting to do this thing for 5 years now...guess it's time to get off the pot, eh? ;-)

Thanks for the inspiration.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 03:14pm PT
Wow, Zander, you are on some kind of roll! I was in Yosemite West the morning of July 19, and I can attest that it was quite hot, so I can easily see the 5 quarts.

Thanks for a great report. Keep em coming!


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 21, 2009 - 03:22pm PT
I keep telling ya L, it's not that far a drive (closer for you than SPH, even!) have pants, will travel.

Random Nobody
  Jul 21, 2009 - 03:34pm PT
Cool TR.. Nice pics..

Kept trying to place the climb in the valley (in my mind...) I figure Washington Column area... good enough


Just livin' the dream
  Jul 21, 2009 - 03:40pm PT
Have pants will travel, Jaybro?

I can see them knickers ain't gonna last a season ;-). Let's talk. Zander's got me inspired to aspire...

Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 04:12pm PT
Nice Zander!

Those photos make me want to head back the Valley. :)


Social climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 06:19pm PT
"is there an easier way to get from the top of ND down to the base of CJ? this is the second story I've heard recently about horrendous bush waking."

You could rap the route (CJ) with 2 ropes.... provided you know where the top anchor is and no parties are coming up from below.

We did this to approach Nataraj last summer.
curt wohlgemuth

Social climber
Bay Area, California
  Jul 21, 2009 - 07:15pm PT
The last time I did CJ, we approached as per the OP. We left packs on top of ND. I remember the walk down to the base of the route was no problem: don't stay right next to the dome, rather go west into the forest then down.

Way easier than the heinous bushwhacking I remember from the _first_ time I did the route -- when we tried to skirt the edge of the dome. Yuck.

I'll second the quality, and if you're comfortable on Tuolumne faces, CJ is very straightforward.
Off White

Tenino, WA
  Jul 21, 2009 - 07:16pm PT
Did this back in early June, hiking from Porcupine Flat. We had much less trouble bushwhacking than many years ago when I did it the first time: Pick up a decent boot path along the drainage from the dome notch, and tend to stay on the right bank, decent path winds on down. When you get down to where you can see the slabby area start to drop off, head left across the stream and pick up another set of boot paths. There's a little brush between things, but nothing bad. When in doubt, head left rather than down, I suspect down leads to the start of the direct.

I thought the first crux on pitch 2 (we weren't hip to combining those) was a wake up call, but then once I had my slab head on everything else felt dandy. The other 5.10 pitch had more bolts so it felt quite comfortable.

The exciting bit of the day was on pitch 3 with my son leading. He headed out the dike, looked up at the line of bolts leading up, and declared that it looked hard for 5.8. Consulting the (supertopo) guide, it looked like you go to the end of the dike, so that's what he did. Way out to the end of the dike, like almost a full 60 meters, with no more pro. He found an upgraded anchor out there, but a shouted conversation determined that he was off route, so he gingerly reversed the dike with monster fall potential until he got back to the line of upward leading bolts. It did turn out to be only 5.8. I highly recommend that others not take this little detour.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
planet dogboy
  Jul 21, 2009 - 10:16pm PT
sweet route. did it via the RA on my last trip out thereabouts. got to the base of RA in the dark, then took off in the dark to avoid the crowds (there en masse even that early). worked for us.

wish we had some of the descent beta above... kinda fook'd that up -- and paid for it.

in all, "full value" [tm: Russ]

nice set of photos, Zander. really gives a good sense of the all of it. karl babba also has a nice set (of photos) as well, if memory serves.

Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 10:47pm PT
Awesome TR. Thanks for sharing - looks like a fun day.

Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2009 - 11:28pm PT
Top anchors

N 37.75425
W 119.56031

Bay Area, CA
  Jul 22, 2009 - 01:12am PT
Thanks for posting these pics. You don't recognize me because I haven't climbed in ages and am not on this forum but once every few years. I have great great memories of CJ. I did it probably in 1994. I was so eager to do it, and while I thought I had an eager climbing partner, late the night before he started complaining, coming up with excuses, then 4 am he woke up and said he had a stomach ache (to which I hastily replied "no you don't! go back to sleep!"). I promised to lead everything, to carry gear, and the like, just to get him moving. I knew he wanted to do it, he was just nervous.

The approach was great, I do not remember much bush whacking, though I do remember seeing manzanita all around. We just followed the guidebook at the time. I also remember hearing my partner yap nervously on the approach about boy scouts and the IMBF syndrome. Fascinating. And the climb was spectacular. I do not remember much slipperiness but that was 15 years ago and the ice and water have surely done some work since then. I always wanted to do it combined with RA, but I stopped climbing and did other things. Very cool that someone posted the coords of the final belay, climbing has come a long way since I was doing it!

And yes it is very hot in the valley. I am here now and the high has been in the 100's since we arrived Saturday. North Dome still looks just stunning.

Thanks for the memories...
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Jul 22, 2009 - 01:40am PT
Thanks Pip and Zander for the TR.

my crest jewel direct tr and images are here

The south face is a fine trad route

and it's about season for folks to check out Nataraj. 10b Ao Dudes It's new, it fine, and why not, it on North Dome (not as hot as the valley but doesn't get stormed near as much as the meadows)



A pile of dirt.
  Jul 23, 2009 - 12:58pm PT
Bump for Zander and Crest Jewel....

Boulder climber
Institute of Better Bouldering-DirtbagDad Division
  Aug 15, 2009 - 01:07am PT
Bump for another awesome Zander TR.

North Dome - Crest Jewel 5.10a - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Crest Jewel follows a series of unique but hard to see features.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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The South Face stays in the corner
North Dome - Crest Jewel Direct 5.10d - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Crest Jewel Direct, 5.10d
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